Tag Archives: Divine

A Prayer For Tuesday

praying in a meadow

God,

Today is Tuesday.

I feel small in the world.

In the little things I do, be with me, near me, and hold me dear.

Let me not forget your faithfulness, your grace, your power, your love.

Show me, my God–or help me glimpse–that your ways,

and your plan, are beyond my sight.

(But, that isn’t so I should worry, but so I can rely on you, and  trust.)

If you are not all together good, then good does not exist.

But since I know what good is at all, surely I know you some.

Breathe into me your breath of life, and let me know you more.

When Tuesday seems like a small day, with nothing to offer,

show me that you delight in me,

just because I am yours.

Surely, you are mine.

Sincerely, with love,

Your girl,

Lisa

Faith and Fleecing God- Hoodoo Part II

Gideon and wool

A common tactic among Christians who seek God’s guidance and direction is to follow the example of biblical hero, Gideon. (see Judges 6:1-8:32) Many people searching for God’s will, lay out a “proverbial fleece,” and ask that God show them which way to go. They hope for a sign, or at least a strong feeling.

Let’s think about Gideon for a moment. When God called Gideon to lead his people in victory over their oppressors, the man was hiding out in the bottom of a winepress threshing wheat. Remember, to thresh wheat, one needs the wind, and open air, so the chaff can blow away, and leave the kernels behind. (One doesn’t get much of that, in a pit of a winepress.) This man was scared silly. One can’t expect to feel even much of a breeze in a hole! God calls him “mighty warrior” too. HA! What a sense of humor! He was either being totally sarcastic, or meant Gideon could be this with God’s divine intervention–in the future. (or maybe both, I wasn’t there to hear the Angel of God’s actual tonal inflection) 😉

Then, Gideon starts mouthing off, acting all bitter, and asks that the Angel of God to actually prove he is really God. To my knowledge, no one else in the Bible is this brash. Graciously, God permits this, instead of just smiting his sorry butt, he obliges him, and burns up a meal, right in front of Gideon. This, of course, scares the snot out of Gideon, and he believes, sort of. He’s still a big-time coward. God instructs him to take down his family’s idols that they all worship. God’s not a big fan of idols. DUH. God was already putting up with a lot of bologna. This garbage removal is an obvious “first things first” order of business.

Everyone in Israel knows you should not worship idols, EVER (they all are aware of those 10 Commandments, and laws of Moses stuff.) Gideon is totally justified to rip them down immediately; so he marches over and does it, no problem. NOPE. Not at all. Gideon goes the cowardly route, and tears down the family idols, by sneaking out to do it in the middle of the night, with a few buddies.

After gathering troops, still, Gideon struggles to feel right or the least bit courageous about God’s calling, or God’s Almightiness. This unlikely victor asks for, not just one miracle, but 2, yes two, miracles, before he follows God’s direction. Very presumptuous, indeed, not to mention faithless.

Here’s the kicker sometimes left out in this hero’s story. After a mighty, and completely miraculous victory, over a powerful and oppressive enemy, the Midianites (with a tiny fighting force of just 300), Gideon constructs a sacred golden object in his town that is soon worshiped by him, his family, and the whole community. WTHuh? I think Gideon and his ways boarder on ridiculous. He’s quite ordinary, in fact. Just like you or me?

While some use the fleece part of the story as a prescriptive idea for determining God’s will–a genuine way to find God’s guidance and will–I believe the Bible includes it as a failure of faith on Gideon’s part, one of several. Really the entire story is part of a greater witness to an idolatrous and unfaithful era in the times of the Judges. It’s really not a picture of Gideon as a good follower, at all, but instead a picture of God, and his forbearance with a very weak individual, a supremely unlikely leader, and a faithless people he has called his own, and wants to save. God continues to use misfits, and losers in his is amazing Story, but we don’t have to emulate these folks in their weaknesses.

In reality, Gideon was like a lot of godless inhabitants of the region; he was a superstitious sort. This was an unfaithful and tumultuous time in Israel’s past as they co-opted with many ungodly practices. Are behaviors of Gideon’s type really the best for us, or the most advisable? I say, “No.”

So if not, what should we do? I’d love for you to weigh in here on this! But, I’ll put in a few ideas.

First, we shouldn’t think of spirituality/the Divine as magic. “If I do this, I’ll know I should do this thing here, if this such thing happens.” Totally hoodoo. That is trying to get God to jump through hoops, so we feel more comfortable. Yes, sometimes God works with this shortcoming in us, but we should also understand that God will purposefully let us flounder sometimes.

Which way to go, or what to decide, might be part of our growth process. Also, Biblical narratives show that God will purposefully allow us to encounter temptation, or the opportunity to make an unwise choice.

Loyalty, and a close walk with him is one of the best guards against going hoodoo with God. (I call this close walk, Practicing the Presence of God. So did Brother Lawrence.) If we are being loyal/obedient, and we thoroughly love God with all we are, it is much easier to choose what God wants for us. And I really think it’s not always just one specific thing we have to pick that is his “will” for us. Sometimes, it’s the situation of good, better, and best. God doesn’t bite his nails wondering if we’ll pick the right thing, and then viola– “be in his will.” He redeems situations, even the foolishness we get ourselves into. It’s that much better if we pick wisely, and make him the center and glory of our decision making.

Yes, sometimes God will open and close doors, and almost seem to force our hand. If we love and trust him, we’ll be okay with that, knowing that he will do that sort of thing for our best benefit and interest, (though it may be hard to see what that is at the time.) To test God, by fleecing him, is to deny ourselves the opportunity for a close intimacy with God. He is a relational Being. He gives us opportunities to walk with him by faith, and not just by sight.

I would love to hear your responses to this post.

Leave a comment, if you will.

Hoodoo Voodoo Series- coming soon

 

movie with the best voodoo play on words

movie with the best hoodoo play on words Below: Scene from The Bachelor and the Bobby-Soxer, 1945

 (info and photo from here)

hoodoo info below via wikipedia:

The dominant worldview in hoodoo is usually strongly Christian. Historically there has been an Old Testament strain in hoodoo thought. This is particularly evident in relation to God’s providence and his role in retributive justice. For example, though there are strong ideas of good versus evil, cursing someone to cause their death might not be considered a malignant act. For example, one practitioner explained it as follows:

“[In] Hoodooism, anythin’ da’ chew do is de plan of God undastan’, God have somepin to do wit evah’ thin’ you do if it’s good or bad, He’s got somepin to do wit it . . . jis what’s fo’ you, you’ll git it.”[12]

Not only is God’s providence a factor in hoodoo practice, but hoodoo thought understands God, himself, as the archetypal hoodoo doctor. On this matter Hurston stated, “The way we tell it, hoodoo started way back there before everything. Six days of magic spells and mighty words and the world with its elements above and below was made.”[13] From this perspective, biblical figures are often recast as hoodoo doctors and the Bible becomes a source of conjurational spells and is, itself, used as a protective talisman.[14]

 

The goal of hoodoo is to allow people access to supernatural forces to improve their daily lives by gaining power in many areas of life, including luck, moneylovedivination, revenge, health, employment, and necromancy. Due to hoodoo’s great emphasis on an individual’s magical power, its basic principles of working are generally felt to be easily adapted for use based on one’s desires, inclination and habits.

 

Hoodoo and Voodoo are often mistaken for one another. Some believe that the terms may have a common etymology. Simply put, Voodoo is a religion, whereas Hoodoo is a group of magical practices.

No Fun Allowed? Not so fast!

 

(actual sign) Creepy!

(actual sign) Creepy!

When the kiddos where swarming Jesus, his disciples started barking at the parents. They said Jesus couldn’t be bothered with that sort of thing. Jesus harshly rebuked his helpers. He had time for the kids. I can picture him ruffling their hair, smiling at them, and blessing them, as they crowded around him.

 

He went on to say that to come  in the Kingdom of God you must be like a child. I think he was primarily speaking about “child-like trust,” and perhaps “purity” of heart, but let’s also think about the nature of children for a minute.

Most kids aren’t super serious, most of them find joy in the present, most can be fairly easily amused, most of them assume they need some help to get by. Oh, and another thing–THEY PLAY! So, maybe those of the kind of people Jesus enjoys the company of. 

Have you grown up? I should say, have you gotten old? Have you forgotten how to play? How to play with all that you are-like a kid-all out? Can you shelve your crotchety outlook, and have a good time, without feeling awkward, bringing someone down, or looking at the negative?

I’ve met so many Christians who are so “grown-up,” they could meet up with God, and he’d seem more like a boy to them. In other words, they would have no idea how “youthful, innocent” exuberance looks, or sounds like. Look at the world of created things. God must have been laughing when he fashioned some of those creatures! Tough-skinned grown-ups aren’t much able to id joy, or what is joyful, if it hits them in the face with a cream pie. They’ll probably say, “Oh, thanks joy! Perfectly good pie, and YOU wasted it! Now clean this up.”

God sings, smiles, and laughs. Shocking! (Actually, only to some people.) Open your eyes. God is good. God is even fun!

Maybe we should remember that he gives us this world to enjoy. He give us others to enjoy. This world is our playground, and we may be happy here. Tag-you’re it!

Vocation

The Spirit of Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me

to preach the good news to the poor.

He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners,

and recovery of sight for the blind,

to release the oppressed,

to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.

-Lk. 4:18-19

Artwork – Trinity (Holy Bible Mosaic)

JesusartworkThis is a peek inside the NLT Holy Bible: Mosaic to one of the many beautiful artworks published inside. I was really drawn to this one. It’s of Jesus at his baptism, where the Trinity was recorded as all being present. (Visually, Audibly, and in the Incarnation of Jesus)

Perhaps this image could be used in your time with God, as you reflect on the gift of the Incarnation, in whom the Father was well pleased.

Leave any reflections you have.

My favorite cathedral- St. Vitus, Praha

I traveled around 11 countries backpacking in Europe, and I saw scores of beautiful and inspiring cathedrals. As I would enter them, I appreciated the art, the architecture, and their magnificence. It wasn’t something I was used to. Typical buildings of worship I was used to didn’t involve such grander. Spiritually for me, it helped to sharpen the import of my overall faith tradition of Christianity that extends more than 2,000 years. The efforts to build such amazing places to bring glory to God, and reflect his splendor, put me into a state of awe and reverence. But it wasn’t so much for the religious habits of the people involved in those efforts, but because of the character, nature, and vitality of the Creator God we worship and love.

Even though I got to see St Peter’s cathedral at the Vatican, and various places of worship in Florance, and even St. Paul’s in London, my favorite cathedral was, surprisingly, in Praha (Prague). The St. Vitus cathedral was breath-taking. Here are images I found at prague.net.  

Where have you traveled, near or far, grand or simple, that has had a spiritual impact on you, and why? Share a response here. Please enjoy these photos of St Vitus, too, and try to visit one day, you won’t regret it. (click to enlarge)